New York Mets’ Top 5 Catching Prospects
New York Mets' Top 5 Catching Prospects
A year ago, the thought of compiling a list of the top five catching prospects in the New York Mets organization would have seemed like an impossible task. The Mets were destitute at that position, both in their minor league farm system and at the major league level.
But how quickly things have changed. One good draft, one great trade, and some improved performances by players already in the organization have completely turned things around for the Mets at the catcher position. The fact that Josh Thole was the Mets’ starting catcher in the majors a year ago and he has just 16 major-league at bats with the Toronto Blue Jays this year illustrates how bleak the situation at catcher was for the Mets, and how far it has come.
For now, the Mets are relying on veteran John Buck to be their starting catcher, and the unproven Anthony Recker to be their backup, but they know that help is on the way. The Mets would certainly welcome Buck back next season, but that may not be necessary with the collection of catching prospects the Mets are starting to accumulate in the upper levels of the minor leagues.
The Mets now have so many legitimate catching prospects that it’s been difficult to find adequate playing time for all of them in the minor leagues this season. It’s also been difficult to narrow down and rank all the catching prospects they have to list of five, but here that list is: the top five catching prospects in the Mets’ farm system:
5. Juan Centeno
Centeno doesn’t have a lot of size, nor does his bat have a lot of power in it, but he’s just about ready to play in the big leagues if the Mets need him. He’s a solid receiver behind the plate and good contact hitter, with a .308 batting average in triple-A this season. He may not be a future starter in the big leagues, but he provides the Mets with quality depth in their farm system at the catcher position.
4. Tomas Nido
The Mets added Nido to their organization in the eighth round of the 2012 MLB Draft. He’s quite raw and years away from the big leagues, but the Mets paid him a lot of money to skip college because he has good tools and a lot of potential. Nido has a strong arm behind the plate and plenty of power potential with the bat, and if he can refine his skills he has a real chance to be a major league catcher one day.
3. Francisco Pena
It’s been a long and winding road for Pena, who’s been with the Mets since 2007 when he was just 17-years old, but he’s finally fulfilling some of his promise this season. Ever since he was promoted to triple-A earlier this season, Pena has been great with the bat, hitting .261 and slugging .500. He has the body, the arm and the defensive skills to be a major league catcher, not to mention the genes to play the position, as he’s the son of former MLB catcher and current New York Yankees bench coach Tony Pena. With the way he’s performed in 2013, Pena could find himself in the big leagues this September and possibly on the Mets opening day roster next April.
2. Kevin Plawecki
The Mets drafted Plawecki 35th overall in the 2012 draft and so far in his professional career, he looks like a player that will one day make it to the big leagues. Plawecki was already calling his own games in college, and has greatly improved his defensive and receiving skills behind the plate since being drafted. With the bat, Plawecki makes good contact and has great gap-to-gap power, hitting 24 doubles and six home runs during the first of the 2013 season. He could rise through the farm system quickly, and by the way things have gone so far, Plawecki should at least become a major league backup.
1. Travis d'Arnaud
If it wasn’t for an unfortunate injury he suffered this past April, d’Arnaud would have already made his MLB debut by now. He was the prized recruit the Mets got when they traded away R.A. Dickey, and there’s no doubt that he’s their catcher of the future. Heading into the 2013 season, d’Arnaud was considered the top catching prospect in all of baseball, and as soon as he recovers from his injury and gets a little more seasoning in triple-A, he’ll be the Mets' starting catcher, as well as a potential all-star for many years to come.